Goal Activation

For over a half of a century, scholars have sought to identify factors that motivate employees to engage in behaviors which will further their organization's broader goals. In this section I mention four concepts (i.e., expectancy theory, equity, justice, and rewards) to consider as management asks employees to engage in new pro-environmental behaviors.

Expectancy Theory

This is a foundational theory of individual motivation. Vroom (1964) investigated the process that helped motivate individuals to engage in a particular voluntary activity. He reasoned that an individual will select the behavior which he or she feels is most likely to lead to the results the individual desires (e.g., raise, recognition, feeling of pride). Expectancy theory is about the mental processes involved in choosing which voluntary behaviors to perform. The theory involves three components: valence, expectancy, and instrumentality. According to the theory motivational force ¼ expectancy x instrumentality x valence. Motivation is influenced by an individual's expectancy that engaging in a certain amount of effort will allow them to do a behavior, this behavior will achieve a certain result, and the individual finds the result desirable. Expectancy is influenced by selfefficacy, goal difficulty, and perceived control. Instrumentality is influenced by trust (of supervisors, of the organization), perceived control over reward distribution, and formalized policies which associate rewards with performance. Vroom explained how valence is influenced by needs, values, goals, and preferences. For example, if I am a buyer for a large retail chain, and I believe that if I find and select more sustainable products this will help my organization meet its sustainability goals, and that I will personally be recognized by management for doing so (which is something I desire), I am more likely to purchase the sustainable products. Although the theory has been criticized as being too simplistic it does direct us to thinking about how employees might go about selecting voluntary pro-environmental behaviors.

Equity, Justice, and Rewards

Perceived fair treatment motivates people. Equity theory (Adams 1963) helps explain how employees seek to maintain the equity between their job-related inputs and the outcomes that they receive compared to their coworkers' contributions and outcomes. If people feel under-rewarded or over-rewarded for their inputs, they experience distress. Inputs include time, effort, loyalty, commitment, and skills and ability. Outcomes include job security, salary, benefits, recognition, and a sense of achievement. The theory is made up of four propositions. Individuals seek to maximize their outcomes (i.e., rewards minus costs). Systems of equity evolve, change, and are maintained within groups. When they find themselves participating in inequitable relationships, individuals feel distress. They will attempt to eliminate their distress by restoring equity (e.g., work less). This theory is useful in helping us understand why employees might expect to receive rewards if they engage in extrarole pro-environmental behaviors when their coworkers do not. The idea of organizational justice stems from equity theory. It is a multidimensional construct with distributive, procedural, interpersonal, and informational components. All four components are important but here I discuss just one. Distributive justice is a concept which focuses us on employees' perceptions of the fairness of how rewards and costs are shared. Perceived fairness has been associated with positive psychological and behavioral outcomes such as trust, job satisfaction, and OCBs. Negative outcomes include withdrawal behaviors (e.g., absenteeism) and counterproductive work behaviors (e.g., resistance).

Employees monitor equity and justice. Sones et al. (2009) interviewed 12 and surveyed 1,386 employees who worked for a global elevator company located in Finland. Their respondents said organizations should allocate resources, time, and money to translate their visions for pro-environmental cultures into practice. Feedback indicated that simply expecting employees to volunteer without providing them with extra time, resources, or rewards led to reduced enthusiasm and effort. Expectancy theory suggests that valued outcomes might include pay increases and bonuses, promotions, time off, recognition, new and interesting assignments, or the intrinsic satisfaction of helping others or the biosphere as well as validating one's skills and abilities. Blackburn (2007) discussed valued outcomes organizations can use as reinforcement after assigning employees new responsibilities tied to their sustainability initiatives. He mentioned promoting performance-based objectives using adjustments to pay, bonuses, opportunities for advancement, special awards, recognition luncheons, and articles in company publications. More subtle rewards include allowing top performers to showcase their efforts in key forums attended by top management. Eisenberger et al. (1990) developed a measure useful to measuring the extent to which employees believe higher levels of job performance will be rewarded. Best Practice: Organizations seeking to stimulate employees to enact new pro-environmental behaviors should be aware of the importance of rewards, perceived equity, and issues related to justice.

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